Home….where the heart really is

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I bitch about Mississippi a lot. The older I get, the longer I live here, the more I see her flaws.

We have so much work to do in terms of acceptance, and unity, and equality. Even as far as we have come, we still have a long ways to go.

But so does everybody. So does every state. We all have our problems.

There are people here that work tirelessly to make MS better. Who never let discouragement or the resistance of “that’s how it’s always been” bring them down.

I really and truly loved my first visit to California. In fact, I can totally see the appeal of living in a climate that rarely changes, and where there is natural beauty of so many varieties in any given direction. Deserts, mountains, beaches, large cities or quieter rural areas….there’s something for everyone. But I’ll tell you a little secret….

I was getting homesick.

My best moments and memories of the last week are the moments where I had quiet, or where there was plenty of space between me and other people. Especially large crowds.

Strolls along the cliffs, or the sand, or in a densely populated section of the baseball stadium, or in Balboa Park, or walking along some of the less busy streets of downtown – these were my favorite moments.

My brain runs 90 to nothing, all day, every day. I need those uncluttered, uncrowded spaces. And when I got out of the car this evening, in my own driveway, there was nothing but the sound of a soft breeze over the pasture, through the trees, and some crickets chirping in the distance.

A world away.

My world.

My home.

Where I always come back.

A little more traveled, a little more seasoned, excited about the memories made…. all the while thankful for the beautiful piece of Earth that I call home.

Where my heart will forever be. No matter how far I go, or how long I stay gone.

She’s not perfect, but she’s mine. And neither one of us is done changing yet.

There’s nothing in the world quite like seeing something for the first time. But there’s also nothing like seeing something you’ve seen a million times, and still being awed by it.

Mississippi does that for me.

And if there’s a better feeling than the one of coming home? Well, I haven’t found it yet.

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Last Day in San Diego

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Today is the first time all week that I haven’t had to set an alarm, and I took advantage of the fact by not setting one. Still, we were walking to The Donut Bar by 8:30 a.m., and there was already a line.

Awaiting us, was heaven behind glass. Here is what was on the menu today:

Decisions decisions….

That, my friends, is what is known as “food porn”, and I’m here to tell you, if you ever visit San Diego, it would be a damn shame to not visit this place.

The chef came out to see some people and I got him to take a selfie with me, but I’m not going to share it because I look like…well, I look like I just woke up after a week of high intensity, brain blasting business training.

Still, he was super nice and drives a really sweet ride…

We made our picks and chose

Lemon Pistachio

Caramel Latte

The “Homer”

The “Elvis”

I can’t even….

After we loaded up on carbs and caffeine, we showered and headed to the one place I absolutely had to check off my list while in the area….besides the ocean….and the Donut Bar…..

Over 100 acres, and I am currently feeling the effects of at least half of them as I type this. I have bad knees. One in particular. And it has been swelling for the last 3 days. Today, of course, would be the worst of the 3, and by the time we left the zoo, I was hurting something fierce. I was never so glad to see an Uber in my whole life.

But, the world famous San Diego Zoo was worth the trip, if only to say I’ve been.

I enjoyed the zoo, but I’m going to be perfectly honest, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, to me, is 10 times better in terms of value for the money and layout of the park.

In the late afternoon, we crossed the street over into Balboa Park, a beautiful and unique experience. The rose garden alone is worth the trip.

I don’t know what these trees are, but they look a lot like Crepe Myrtles. Except they’re not. But they’re everywhere and they’re so pretty!

We came back to the room and I let my second dose of Aleve kick in before we headed out for dinner.

For our last San Diego meal, we ate at Mezé, a Greek Fusion experience. My husband has never tried Greek cuisine and I FINALLY taught him to pronounce Gyro correctly before he ordered it. I was so proud!

I chose the Falafel and had a glass of Reisling because I suddenly realized I’d been in California all week and had tried ZERO wine. The horror!

The food was fantastic, and the staff was some of the friendliest we’ve encountered so far.

After dinner, we walked over to the Gaslamp Garage to stock up on souvenirs and then made our way back to the hotel.

But first, dessert.

We each had a hot fudge sundae (mine had a brownie!) and they didn’t disappoint.

They even gave us a little Ghiradelli square when we walked in the door. Any place that hands out free chocolate is a winner in my book!

This whole week has been such a treasured experience. My conference was super helpful and informative. The people I’ve encountered have all been friendly (except for the two heifers that stole my seat on the 3rd day of the conference). The food, of course, has been fabulous. The landscape and weather have been phenomenal.

I’ve had to laugh because the locals keep referring to the June Gloom that is apparently happening right now because it has been overcast almost every day this week. But when I think about returning to 90+ temperatures and 7,000% humidity, I have had ZERO complaints about the cool and comfortable atmosphere.

There is so much rich culture here in San Diego, and it truly is a melting pot. Everywhere I’ve turned there have been people speaking different languages and the Latino and Mexican cultures are, of course, very dominant in the area. All of that has made for a fascinating experience, and this is one of those places that one could visit time and time again and experience something different every time.

I hope that, one day, I can do that myself.

In the meantime, farewell, San Diego. Hope to see you again one day.

San Diego: Day 5

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The morning started out as usual, and wrapped up early as this was our last day of the conference.

Shey and I left the hotel via Uber and headed to Belmont Park at Mission Beach.

Our Uber driver was a self-published author, originally from Manchester, England. He has been stateside since the 70s and is also a standup comedian and soccer expert, hence the book.

He had plenty of interesting Uber stories and, of course, I enjoyed hearing them all in his (now California-influenced) British accent.

Belmont Park was interesting enough, but Shey had brought his large camera and we didn’t feel like storing it to ride the old wooden roller coaster, so we set out in search of food near the boardwalk.

We finally settled on Sandbar, the ad on the awning suggesting that they have the “best fish tacos in San Diego”.

Turns out, they aren’t wrong because they have won some awards for their fish tacos. I opted for Baja shrimp instead, and Shey chose the carne asada, and I’m here to tell you, this was the best food I’ve had in California so far. And that is saying a LOT because we’ve had some great food this week.

We DEVOURED our lunch with much enthusiasm and then headed down the boardwalk and eventually onto the beach so I could finally, FINALLY put my feet in the water.

The weather was perfect, the ocean a blue/gray vision of majesty, especially as I got further away from the crowds and let the crashing waves become the dominant sound.

I found a quiet spot near the rocks and just sat for a bit, and let the water come to me for a while.

From Mission Beach, we headed over to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Unfortunately, the sky was overcast by then, and there would be no visible sunset, but the views were stunning, nonetheless. And it was dizzying at times! But, I can’t even express my own awe at the view we had. That I was standing next to an ocean I honestly thought I’d probably never see was just….surreal. I could have sat there for hours, but it was beginning to get crowded, and, quite honestly, my husband was making me incredibly nervous with just how far out he would venture to take pictures so I called an Uber before today’s headline read “Tourist Slips on Sunset Cliffs, Falls to His Death”.

Here are some photos from Sunset Cliffs

After the Cliffs, we headed back to the hotel, took a breather, and then walked up to The Cheesecake Factory for death, I mean DINNER.

Shey opted for the Steak Diane, I got the California Cheesesteak, and we split the Eggroll Sampler. All delicious!

For dessert, Shey got the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

And I savored the Salted Caramel. Perfection. Just…..perfection.

We waddled back to the room with full bellies and tired feet from our day of sightseeing, and crashed hard. Our last day in California was on the horizon, and we were going to need our rest!

San Diego: Dias Quatro

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It’s June 21st, the longest day of the year. So we squeezed every minute out of it that we could stand on this, our 4th day here in SoCal.

While I was in class, hubs walked to the border. Just for kicks, I guess, because he doesn’t have a passport.

I skipped lunch out and came to the room to get the quiet time my body and mind have been pushing me to hurry up and find.

I had my daily donut fix waiting on me when I walked in

This, my friends, is a PopTart donut. There is “lit’rally” a PopTart in the center of this thing and it was also full of strawberry filling.

I finished up my afternoon of class and headed back to the room to put down my BINDER O LEARNING MATERIAL and then Shey and I headed out for the evening.

We walked to the Broadway pier and took a ferry across the bay to Coronado.

The ferry ride was quick, but cold. Yes, COLD. In June. My body is so damn confused. No humidity? No heat? 2 hours later? WTF?

We only had about 2 and a half hours to spend on the island so we started immediately walking toward the beach. And I immediately wished I had at least ONE pair of shoes that didn’t kill me and joints that were better suited to tourism. But whatever, I kept walking. And walking. And freakin walking.

It was an interesting walk too, because there are some COOL homes in Coronado. This one looked like something out of a storybook to me

I also found my Episopal homies

The main reason I decided on this particular destination for tonight’s excursion was for this

I mean, if it was good enough for Marilyn, it’s good enough for me!

The Hotel Del Coronado sits right on the Pacific, which was reason 2 that I wanted to visit it.

And it’s National Selfie Day, so, ha! Take that! I’m checking off bucket list items in mine!

We took an Uber back to the pier because I am a wuss, but I was never so happy to ride in a car in my life.

Once we got back to the pier, we grabbed a pie and tucked in like the starving animals we were.

The view didn’t suck either

We enjoyed the nighttime skyline from our vantage point and on the ferry ride back to Broadway.

The USS Midway was lit up with patriotic colors.

Once we got back on dry land, we headed back in the direction of the hotel, and I snapped a few photos of the nighttime scenes.

This looks like something an Avenger should be protecting…

There were several of these in front of a Bank of America I think?

Also, this photobomber

And one without

Tomorrow is the last day of class and we let out early. Shey and I plan on taking full advantage of the free time. I need to rest up now, so I will leave you with one final picture of the great signage all over this historic part of town that has been our home all week. Hasta Luego!

The Silent Companion

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I interrupt this series of fun and fabulous blog posts about my time in lovely San Diego to talk about something that is always with me, but I leave out of most of my posts regarding travel: anxiety.

Now, when I say “anxiety”, I don’t mean I get a little nervous sometimes. I mean I have a diagnosis. And I’m just now, at 36 years old, starting to understand it, recognize it, and actually deal with it.

I write about it, because people don’t understand what it is. How it affects someone with said diagnosis. I didn’t understand it either, and I struggled, and still do, with not perceiving it as mental weakness. But it’s not. It just….is what it is.

I take an antidepressant. Because, back in March, when my thyroid went stupid, I was in a truly dark and terrible place. The antidepressant really gave me some relief until I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and began to get it properly treated.

I had ALWAYS (since my early 20s) been on an anti-ANXIETY med prior to that time, but my doctor switched me to an antidepressant. The same doctor that thought my thyroid was “normal”. When I started seeing a Psychiatrist (another big step in owning my crazy) he left me on said antidepressant and got me a referral to the endocrinologist.

Now the thyroid levels are holding steady, the depression is much better, but the anxiety is returning full force. And he wants to add in a medication for that. And I’m resisting. Hard. Because I don’t want to be on 4 different pills just to function without some kind of mental or physical pain.

And it’s so fucking ironic, because it’s this VERY mindset that had me resistant to seeking help for anxiety so many years ago, which is almost a perfect example of what it is like to live with anxiety: you know what is LOGICAL, you know what is PROBABLE, but you still tend to go along with whatever your anxiety wants you to believe.

It’s exhausting. Purely exhausting. And there’s therapy, and there’s pills, but there isn’t a cure. And before you text me or message me to tell me how I should deal with it, I’m going to stop you right there and tell you, “No thanks.” Because if you’ve never dealt with it, REALLY dealt with anxiety, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, so just do everyone a favor and listen and don’t speak.

Now, that was a long preface, and I get that. I also get that I dropped a f bomb back there and I don’t usually do that. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done that on this blog, but that should tell you just how frustrated and serious I am about the bitch that is anxiety.

So, here’s what it’s like to travel with her.

Flying

For some people with anxiety, they need strong medication just to board the plane. This isn’t an issue for me. I don’t worry about crashing, etc. What I struggle with, is being in such close proximity to people. I like personal space. A LOT. And that goes back to my anxiety because I don’t trust people. Like, at all. If you have my trust, it’s because you somehow earned it or I trust my INTUITION enough about you to believe you wouldn’t hurt me.

But I don’t know that about dozens of strangers on an aircraft. And the guy having the anxiety attack beside me on the plane to San Diego, I didn’t know if he was truly spazzing about the plane or if he was just a crazy guy with a hidden weapon.

THAT MADE ME ANXIOUS.

Strangers

Speaking of strangers, attending a conference like I am this week, one is expected to network. And for one or two days, I can do that. If I was on anti-anxiety meds, I could probably do that more or better, but I’m not on any this trip, so I’m struggling to be…..social.

Being social ANYtime requires me to be “on”.

What do I mean by that? Well, as an introvert with anxiety, I am doubly cursed here because large groups of people or lots of faux, small talk interactions, mentally wipe me out. I need lots of downtime to recover from it.

“Recover from talking to people? Allison, you sound certifiable!”

Yep, welcome to my life. But the need for solitude is what makes an introvert an introvert. And I’m getting no recovery time this week to speak of because 1. I am in a conference with 50 other people every day, all day and 2. My husband is with me and we share a room of course so there is nowhere that I can actually be alone. Even the bathroom in these hotel rooms is not like the usual standard type of privacy so, yeah. I think I’m feeling the effects of my introversion in full force this week.

Stress

Stress exacerbates any issue or problem. Stress on top of anxiety? Oh it’s just delightful.

This conference this week is about Bankruptcy. By far, this issue is the most difficult, newest (to me) and least understood (by me) of my career. The information I’m receiving here is SO detailed, and SO needed by me, that I feel tremendous pressure to make sure I understand what is being taught, and be able to implement it like a boss when I get back to my office.

I want my employer to get his money’s worth, because, much as I’m enjoying my off time, this IS a business trip, and I’m here to learn and get better at my job.

Unfamiliarity

I’m in a place I’ve never physically been. San Diego, while cool and interesting and full of fun things to do is still a giant change from where I come from. And for that reason alone, I can’t let my guard down, just because of physical safety.

The stress of that, of worrying about my husband when he’s out roaming the city by himself, of worrying about if that guy behind us is following us on purpose, of being overwhelmed with decisions about where to go and what to eat and feeling pressure to get the most out of this personally, as a life experience, is huge. I don’t want to miss anything. I may never come back to California! I want to make sure I get the most I possibly can out of it.

I know my husband was probably ready to kill me before we left last week, because I like having an itinerary, even if it’s loose. It helps resolve some of that anxiety because it cuts down on spur-of-the-moment decisions I have to make. And I HATE being forced into a quick decision. I MUST overanalyze it first! Ha! But it all goes back to the anxiety and trying to prepare for the unknown as much as possible.

So, if you made it through this post, congratulations. I’m willing to bet you might have issues yourself, either that or you’re just incredible kind and want to understand me, or maybe you’re an asshole who likes laughing at the mental illnesses of others. Whatever the case, this was just a small, specific peek into what anxiety has done to me this week.

But hey, I’m making progress. Several years ago, I couldn’t have told you that’s what my current mood was based on and how all of these issues led back to the core issue of anxiety. But I know that now. And, bad as I hate it, I see more meds in my future.

If you don’t require mental health treatment, be thankful. Because it’s SUPER hard to get it right. And above all, be kind to those who DO require it. Because we’re doing the best we can with what we’re working with.

San Diego: Day 2

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This is how I started my second full day in California. Well, after a 6:30 a.m. (because it was 8:30 in MS) conference call. Yesterday, all we got for breakfast was fruit and bread and cereal.

Today, I guess since we have started the “advanced” portion of our bankruptcy seminar, they decided we needed some protein.

They were right. It was a mentally taxing day with lots of asterisks applied to rules that should be clear cut, but are never that simple.

It was a lot of information, but all good, helpful stuff. I think I’ve taken about 12 pages of notes so far, in addition to the binder of handouts we got. And when I say “binder”, I don’t mean a little one. I mean a big one.

The host of the seminar fed us today, and we dined on the rooftop of the hotel. The spread included salads, chicken, and several varieties of bruschetta, pizza flatbreads, and pasta. It was light and tasty and I had an opportunity today to finally talk to some folks and do a little networking.

They saved our lemon parfait dessert for our afternoon break, and we finished up shortly after 4 p.m.

I headed back to our room to decompress for a bit. Shey and I were just talking about how this hotel, The Andaz, is, as Goldilocks would say, “Just right.” It’s not what I would call super luxury, but it ain’t the Motel 6, not by a long shot. It’s very conveniently located and full of amenities. A “boutique” hotel. And, as luck would have it, the room we were given is located on the back side, not facing the street, and VERY quiet.

I can’t express how important quiet is to me in a situation like this. As I get older, and recognize and understand my anxiety, how is manifests and what triggers it, overstimulation in terms of noise is a big one. I can deal with it, but I have to have quiet to recover.

I have to have solitude. No artificial lights. No tv. Just calm.

I love traveling and I love exploring new cities. But, if I have my way, I’ll never live IN a city. A country girl I was born and a country girl I will remain.

But I digress….

On with the update!

After I changed clothes, Shey and I walked down to Petco Park and experienced a first for both of us: a Major League Baseball game!

The San Diego Padres faced the Oakland Athletics tonight, and were leading when we left in the 8th inning, (because it was technically midnight our time), but when we got back, I check the final score and saw that Oakland pulled out a win in a 10th inning, beating SD 4-2.

Still, it was a LOT of fun, even though there were some young ladies down our row who forgot to wear shirts and kept walking in front of us every few minutes and there was what appeared to be a casually dating couple (or maybe just friends) sitting behind us, arguing about immigration reform.

While at the game, we checked another item off of our list: the Hodad burger.

We first learned about Hodad’s on Guy Fieri’s show on Food Network.

Basically, they chop up thick strips of bacon, boil it, and then fry it up in a patty which they then place on this MAMMOTH burger. But don’t take my word for it….

The entirety of the Hodad’s booth was covered in license plates and I found out that, even almost 1800 miles from home, you’re never really that far away…

The whole experience was fun tonight. My dad used to take me, my mom and sister to watch the OKC ’89ers play when I was a kid and I used to attend my cousins’ summer league baseball games all the time. I hate watching baseball on tv, but I love attending games in person. A lot of good memories came back to me tonight, and I really enjoyed making a new one.

Oh! And I almost forgot! I got another donut today.

Shey’s one job this week is to bring me samples of pastries from The Donut Bar.

I’ve been seeing these on Instagram for 2 weeks so this is what I had waiting on me this afternoon:

Yep. A unicorn donut. The horn and ears are white chocolate and the whole thing is GINORMOUS and incredibly rich. I saved half for in the morning!

Tomorrow is another full day of learning and then we have a sponsor sponsored reception tomorrow night so I’m thinking after that, we might only venture as far as one of the neighboring comedy venues or karaoke bars, but we shall see. We’re sort of making some plans as we go.

I do know one thing, so far, San Diego has been a delight, and the week isn’t even halfway over yet!

San Diego: Day 1

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I live to travel. And the fact that I’m in California for the first time is a little surreal. You see, most people where I live, in the deep south, either leave after high school or college or stay in our hometown forever. There are a few seasoned travelers, but not just a whole lot of people that go beyond the gulf coast beaches, smokey mountains, or maybe an occasional cruise to Cozumel or Jamaica.

Our first full day here, I was at my seminar’s breakfast bar by 7:55 and selected an end seat at one of the middle tables. I like to sit back and observe a little on the first day of anything like this. We broke for a short time-out and I went back to the room because my husband had left me a surprise…

I was psyched because I’ve been reading about this place for weeks. Inside I found

The caramel colored one is a creme brulee donut, complete with breakable caramelized sugar on top.

Heaven.

Following the rest of the morning material, the seminar broke for lunch and I walked down to Searsucker while Shey went exploring and visited the USS Midway.

I ordered the grilled cheese with champagne greens

and enjoyed my window view, checked my email, and called in to the office.

We had a crash course in some basic Bankruptcy rules this afternoon and I feel like I’ve processed about a week’s worth of material already! But it is a relief to attend a seminar that is SO practical and helpful for EXACTLY what I see every day in my career, and not be surrounded by people besides creditors, being pumped full of information that doesn’t apply to me.

We finished up about 4:15 this afternoon and I came back to the room and split the strawberry cheesecake donut with Shey while we made a plan for the evening.

After walking around a bit, we made our way over to the San Diego Public Library – three floors (complete with escalators) of my favorite smell in the whole world second only to the beach and/or my mama’s cooking: books!

After we left the library, we browsed in Gaslamp Garage for souvenir ideas and then headed over to The Old Spaghetti Factory, located here

I LOVE that the history of this area is so rich and interesting. Our dinner was tasty, reasonable on the wallet, and was served from a place that we don’t have in our part of the country. We dined upstairs, in the loft/bar area, which was uncrowded and quiet – a difference in night and day compared to the thumping bar where we had supper last night! Just the thing after a long, still-acclamating-to-west-coast-time, mentally exhausting day.

Shey and I have both traveled beyond the south, but never together. This is a first, and I hope not a last, for us. We’re counting it as an early anniversary present, since we will celebrate 12 years next month.

Tomorrow I’ll have a full day, starting the “advanced” portion of my conference that will go the rest of the week. It’s also the only day we’re being served lunch, so I won’t have much to report until Wednesday. Shey and I do have a fun outing planned for tomorrow evening though, and I’m psyched to tell y’all all about it.

More to come…….

Travel log: Headed to California

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4:00 a.m Woke up. Was up until 10:30, packing. Slept 4.5 hours. Nervous as hell that I’ll forget something.

5:15 a.m. Get up. Drink coffee. Because stimulants are always a good idea when one is anxious.

6:00 a.m. Take a shower. Go over my pack list. Again.

7:20 a.m. Drive to the airport.

8:30 a.m. Accidentally call the male TSA agent a “ma’am”…..I have nothing to hide in my carry-on, but I probably look suspicious what with the anxiety and all. That nervous slip of the tongue probably didn’t help matters.

8:50 a.m. Waiting to board flight one.

9:20 a.m. Hubs is behind me. They stop him at the gate, but only because his boarding pass is weird looking and not similar to mine. But he gets through.

9:22 a.m. Find my seat on the tin can that take us from Jackson to Houston. Feel like one of the tshirts I have rolled up in my suitcase. Before we land, I feel like the stuff in my ziplock bags: lacking in oxygen and a little overheated.

10:20 a.m. Pilot announces that, due to thunderstorms in Houston, we are going into a “holding pattern” until the weather clears. He assures us that we have enough fuel for this.

11:24 a.m. Land in Houston without a scratch. Head immediately in the direction of food so I can eat my feelings and rehydrate with stimulants in the form of Diet Pepsi.

12:15 p.m. Board the tram to our terminal and a 75 year old disgruntled gentleman from Sydney, Australia takes a seat beside me and proceeds to tell me about his horrendous ordeal since arriving in Houston. His plane was late arriving and his departure to Kansas City had been moved to 5 hours later than originally planned. Apparently the good people of Houston had not impressed the old gent, and if I had just been on planes for the last 17 hours, I probably would have bitched the rest of the day, as well.

God love him. I hope he gets some good BBQ this week and the midwest can redeem itself in his eyes.

It is currently 12:55 p.m. and we are waiting to board our “real” plane to San Diego. I’ve got 3 episodes of Mad Men downloaded and plan to settle in to that for the duration of our flight. And I might sleep on my husband’s shoulder if he’ll let me. That 4 a.m. wake-up and 2nd caffeine crash is gonna hit me hard in about 2 hours.

UPDATE

1:50 p.m. I thought I was going to have an empty seat beside me but nah. I binged Mad Men and kicked back for the 3 hour jaunt into San Diego. Watched the dude beside me almost have a full on panic attack. Have been bemused by the startling amount of comments on my husband’s choice of attire….

If you live under a rock, you don’t realize that Mississippi State University is in the college baseball world series. Been getting mostly love, but I think a lot of people think this shirt refers to a SNL skit and not a college….

After getting checked into the lovely Andaz hotel in downtown San Diego, we checked out the rooftop, where there is a great lounge area, pool, and some sweet views:

We strolled the city blocks all around the Gaslamp Quarter this evening and ended up at El Chingon for dinner. When someplace offers “badass Mexican food”, I want to see if they mean it.

P.S. They did. This guacamole is the best I’ve ever had. I might go back tomorrow and have it for lunch. It was THAT good. The Basic Bitch margarita wasn’t bad either, and I only dared to drink one – they aren’t for the fainthearted and some KINDA strong.

I ordered the California Burrito and, well, here is why:

Did you read that? There are crispy french fries IN the burrito.

It was absolutely delish and I could only eat half. The carne asada was perfect and actually tasted marinated and freshly grilled.

8:18 p.m. after a 2 hour time change Night one in Cali has been a success. I just got all of my daytime professional attire ironed and put away and it may be 8:15 in California, but it’s after 10 at my house and I’m calling it a day.

Tomorrow is a full conference day and I needs my beauty sleep!

Can’t wait to report more!

These Three

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(I love a picture of ruins. Evidence that where something grand once stood, something beautiful, yet broken, still remains. Still abides…)

The enigmatic soul is forever restless; unable, or perhaps unwilling, to settle down. Accept.

Forever searching for that place where hope isn’t necessary, and dreams can become forgotten, unburdened from the soul that carries them.

The soul simply seeks acceptance. Peace. To practice gratitude for the dreams that survived and were fulfilled. But hope…remains insistent.

The mind can be soothed, but not changed. The heart can be massaged, but not mended. The tendency for future-gazing, and the tenacious spirit of the hope that fuels it, refuses to be stifled. With every new morning, it arrives, even if tears threatened to drown it the night before.

Faith stands steadily by. Unassuming. Unimposing. Waiting. Subliminaly inviting the soul to tether itself to it.

Never judging a wavering or unsteady – even angry – soul. Faith remains a net prepared to catch the fall.

Love permeates all aspects of the soul open to it. Once it has broken through, it is longed for and never forgotten. An unrelenting thirst to have and to give away.

Hope remains. Brutal, unrelenting, and maybe even foolish. Faith beckons to be held fast with a quiet, extended hand. Love, looming over all, stands steady. A reminder of commitments made, vows pledged, an icon of both history and a desired future.

Hope, faith, and love. They abide. Stubbornly. As though they had linked arms. The same 3 that ignite feelings and activate fluttering hearts, also have the strength, substance, and resolve to bind up the heart that is broken.

They abide.

In spite of all things, they abide.